Choose Responsibility Launches Amethyst Initiative
The Amethyst Initiative seeks to bring college and university leaders together to take a stand against legal age 21. Participating administrators have signed a statement saying:
In 1984 Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which imposed a penalty of 10% of a state’s federal highway appropriation on any state setting its drinking age lower than 21.
Twenty-four years later, our experience as college and university presidents convinces us that…
A culture of dangerous, clandestine “binge-drinking”—often conducted off-campus—has developed.
Alcohol education that mandates abstinence as the only legal option has not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.
Adults under 21 are deemed capable of voting, signing contracts, serving on juries and enlisting in the military, but are told they are not mature enough to have a beer.
By choosing to use fake IDs, students make ethical compromises that erode respect for the law.
The approximately 120 signatories include President Rebecca S. Chopp (Colgate University), President James E. Wright (Dartmouth College), President Richard Brodhead (Duke University), President William Brody (Johns Hopkins University), President Lawrence S. Bacow (Tufts University), and Middlebury’s own President Ronald D. Liebowitz.
In case you are as puzzled as I was about the meaning behind the name of the initiative, its website explains:
The word Amethyst is derived from the Ancient Greek words meaning “not” (a-) and “intoxicated” (methustos). …
In Ancient Greece, drinking vessels and jewelry were often made of amethyst and used during feasts and celebrations to ward off drunkenness and to promote moderation.
The amethyst is thus a meaningful symbol for this initiative, which aims to encourage moderation and responsibility as an alternative to the drunkenness and reckless decisions about alcohol that mark the experience of many young Americans.
MiddBlog wants to know: Do you agree with the aims of the Amethyst Initiative? What are your thoughts on President Liebowitz having signed the statement?
Update, 8/24: Ron Liebowitz has addressed the Amethyst Initiative on his own blog and is curious to know your thoughts on the matter.